I just made the final tuition payment for our daughter. Hard to believe but she graduates in under 6 weeks. For the past 5 months, we were on a payment plan of $3,100/month so starting May 1, that means we will have an extra $3,100/month in our budget which is pretty cool. As I said before, the first order of business will be to pay off our HELOC which is about 12K. After that, I'll split the money between cash savings and extra mortgage payments and I'm sure some of it will go for some fun stuff along the way too.
Viewing the 'Personal Finance' Category
The end of college for our daughter is rapidly approaching. She graduates in 51 days! That's the first time I've actually counted.
She submitted her degree info a couple of weeks ago (and paid the $85 graduation fee). Today's milestone was ordering senior portraits. We did what we have always done with school photos and gone for one of the cheapest packages. In this case, the 2nd cheapest because the absolute cheapest only included one pose and we wanted both cap and gown and informal poses.
The list price on the package was $269 but when they mailed the proofs, they included an "early bird" offer for 10% off packages up to $299, so we saved $26.90 with that code. After tax and shipping, the total came to $266.14. While that certainly isn't cheap, it is right in line with what I was expecting so I'm okay with that. I kind of figured the whole process of graduation would cost us about $1,000. That includes photos, any school fees, a hotel room for the event, and any other miscellaneous expenses.
Of course, an even bigger deal is that the very last tuition payment is due April 15 for $3,100. I've been paying $3,100/month since December. I can't wait until May when I'll start getting to keep that $3,100/month in my pocket instead.
Thanks to the long-running bull market, our asset allocation had gotten more stock-heavy than I wanted it to be. At the end of 2017, we were 81% stock, 14% bond, 5% cash. Although I am by no means a market timer, I'm also a realist and understand that the bull market is going to end one of these days, probably sooner rather than later. I've always been very aggressive with our portfolio but we're now both in our early to mid 50s and have fewer years ahead of us to recover from any major drop. It was time to start dialing back the risk level to help protect our assets and buffer the impact of a future bear market whenever it may happen.
I decided to work towards getting the stock allocation down around 70%. I made a couple of moves early in the year, shifting 20K from stocks to bonds. Then there was that quick correction where the Dow dropped a couple thousand points. I was concerned that I may have missed my opportunity but fortunately the recovery was just as quick as the correction. Before the market had a chance to tank again, I moved the rest of the money needed to get to that new target allocation, about 100K.
So as of now, we are at 70% stock, 26% bond, 4% cash. I think that will give better downside protection when the bear shows up while still giving plenty of exposure to the upside as do still have many years ahead of us hopefully and need to have continued growth in our portfolio.
What is your asset allocation? How often do you rebalance?
I take care of all of the financial stuff in our household but from time to time, my wife and I will sit down for a "financial date" when I update her on everything that's been going on and where things stand.
I'm off today and we're in the midst of a snowstorm so it was a perfect opportunity for our latest financial date.
I showed her how my income has changed over the last 3 years with my transition from family practice to urgent care. I then reviewed where the bulk of the extra income has gone (college costs, malpractice insurance, travel). I explained how we're currently spending $3,100/month for college but the last payment will be made later this month and then going forward we'll have an extra $3,100/month to direct to other things and I told her how I plan to do that.
She asked a number of questions. We talked about the financial impact of our daughter finishing college but moving back home with us. We talked a bit about retirement planning.
All in all, it was a good update. I always like to make sure she knows what's going on even though I'm the one managing stuff on a day to day basis.
As I've been doing the year-end financial stuff, one thing I looked at was how much we ended up spending on travel. It was way too much, definitely something we need to rein in a bit going forward.
We had a great time and had some wonderful trips: a Caribbean cruise, three trips to Disney World, Phoenix and the Grand Canyon, Kentucky, and a few smaller trips.
Part of the problem is that on a couple of those trips, we stayed at much nicer hotels than we usually do when we travel. We have always been the type to stay on the outskirts of our destination where prices are lower and then drive or take public transit into the main part of town. With Phoenix, Grand Canyon, and Kentucky, we stayed right in the heart of everything. While it's great to be able to step out of your hotel and walk to shops and restaurants and attractions, you also pay a big premium for that convenience. Time to go back to the old way of doing things.
I was shocked to add it all up and realize that we spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 on travel between December 2016 and January 2018, so a little more than a year. Time to go back to choosing the hotels off the beaten track.
One good thing at least for 2018 is that we have a ton of Marriott Reward points. We easily have enough for 15 free nights. My goal for the year is to focus on using those whenever we can to help keep costs down. We did one free night just last weekend when we were driving home from Florida and stopped for the night so that probably saved us about $110.
Another thing is that my new job gives me a pretty generous continuing education allowance. So we will combine a vacation or two with conference time. That way the hotel and transportation costs will be covered by work. It means I'm tied up in classes for a lot of the time but I'll still have plenty of free time with my wife (and daughter if she is with us) to enjoy the local stuff.
I downloaded all of the closing prices of our investments last night and updated our portfolio spreadsheet.
Our portfolio balance now stands at:
That's the first time we've cracked the $1 million mark.
I know that number is constantly changing. Heck, it's changed since I did it last night because I paid a couple of bills this morning, but it's still a cool milestone to have reached.
Note that this is not net worth. Our NW crossed the $1 million mark a while ago because we have over 200K equity in our house. This is just counting actual financial assets: cash, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.
We're not ready for retirement yet but we're making good progress. We should be in good shape when the time comes.
Happy New Year to all! I hope 2018 brings health, peace, and prosperity for everyone.
I'm a lousy blogger . It's been a couple of months since I posted so here's an update.
My original plan to leave my private practice and work part time plus per diem hours at urgent care wasn't going to work. After discussing it with the medical director, he felt that the days of nearly unlimited per diem shift availability were going to start drying up. So I decided to switch to full time (36 hours/week) to guarantee my hours and income. I will officially be full time as of 11/5.
My last day in my practice was 9/28 so this month I've still been part time. It worked out well as we were on vacation from 11/7-11/16. The last 2 weeks of the month I kept my schedule kind of light, 28 and 32 hours.
We did open our HELOC and immediately drew out $14,700 for the malpractice policy I needed to take out when I left my practice. Right now, I'm just making small payments on that (I paid $250 last month and will do the same this month). Once the last college tuition payment is made in December, I'll start attacking the HELOC more aggressively.
As for college, we do have one more payment of $15,135 due in December. Right now, I've got about $9,000 set aside plus some surplus in our checking account. I'm not quite sure if we'll have the full 15K by December, but if we need to draw a couple thousand from the HELOC, I'm fine with that.
Once I'm full time, my income will increase and our health insurance costs will drop by over $300/month so there will be additional money to throw at the HELOC. We'll have it paid off within a year.
So everything is on track and doing well financially speaking.
Well, that's not 100% true. DD took a $3,750 loan but DW and I didn't need to borrow a penny to make the fall tuition payment ($15,135). Last year at this time, we borrowed $7,500 for the fall and another $7,500 for the spring. early on, I anticipated we'd have to do the same this year.
When I switched to working part time instead of per diem at the urgent care, that bumped up my income and we were able to start putting money into our savings account at a rate far greater than before. So I started realizing we probably wouldn't need to borrow another $15,000 but probably something less than that.
Fast forward to July and we had accumulated $8,000 in the savings account. We got an 2015 amended tax return refund of $1,400, a cash gift of $2,500 for our anniversary, and DD got a $3,000 scholarship check that we split with her, so another $1,500 for us. That gave us another $5,400. We were able to cover the remaining $1,700 just from current income bringing us up to that $15,135 figure.
Now the challenge is to see if we can save up another $15,000 in time for the spring tuition payment due at the end of December. That will be the FINAL tuition bill! If we can, that would be fantastic. If not, we are in the final stage of opening a HELOC so we will be able to dip into that if we need to.
Wow. It's hard to believe but our daughter is entering her senior year of college in about 7 weeks. The next to last tuition bill is sitting on my desk and is due on August 10.
We still had a small balance in her 529 plan - $2,216.96 to be exact. I just put in the request to withdraw the remaining funds and close the account.
Total withdrawals from the account were $72,336.96.
It all seems kind of surreal but after we make the August payment, there will just be one final payment to make in December and then the college bills stop (though we'll still have a little bit of college debt to take care of).
In responding to a post on the forums, I updated my financial spreadsheet and discovered that as of yesterday, our portfolio stood at a little over $930,000. This is the first time it's ever been over 900K so I thought that was exciting.
I know that having $1 million really doesn't mean anything remarkable. It isn't enough to retire and it won't change anything about what we're doing but to see that we're closing in on that point is still pretty neat.
It will still take some time to get there but we're the closest we've ever been.
So my new job at urgent care pays a lot better than my old job in private practice. I knew that. That isn't the surprising part.
What surprised me is that now that I know the date that I'll be leaving the practice (9/30), I did an income projection for the year.
If I only work 20 hours/week at urgent care from 10/1 to 12/31 and don't pick up any extra shifts, I will still make $26,880 more in 2017 than I made in 2016.
My goal is to shoot for 12 hours/week extra for a total work week of 32 hours. If I can manage that, I'd earn about $45,000 more than last year. And if I can't always get an extra 12 hours, I'll still be in good shape which is nice.
I've been working a lot of hours (bare minimum of 43 and often 47 or 51) so I'm looking forward to a lighter schedule. Just this past week I worked 7 days in a row. A lot of stuff outside of work has gotten ignored because of my schedule. It will be nice to have time again to do things like yard work and car care and other stuff. And be making more money at the same time. Not a bad deal.
I gave notice at my practice last week. I'm going to stay on through September 30th. Beginning October 1st, I'll be working one job only at Urgent Care. I'm going to remain part time there (20 hours/week) and pick up per diem shifts on a regular basis. My goal will be a total of 32 hours/week (20 regular and 12 per diem).
Right now, my 20 hours is 8 hours on Tuesday, 4 hours on Thursday evening, and 8 hours on Saturday or Sunday depending on the week. Once I leave my office, I'll have Monday, Wednesday, Thursday day, and Friday available to grab per diem shifts. So that's 44 possible hours and I only want 12 of them. That should be no problem at all. And there are always weekend shifts to consider, too, on the weekends I'm not already working.
I have some preferences as to where and when I'd like to work but I realize that once I'm depending on the per diem shifts for my income, I'll need to be flexible and sometimes take what I can get. I'm okay with that.
I'm looking forward to not juggling two jobs anymore. I'm also looking forward to working 32 hours/week instead of now when I work a minimum of 43 and often more. This week I'm doing 47, for example. So that will be nice.
My new job gives me a continuing education stipend. In April, I went to a conference and submitted the receipts for the conference itself and the hotel bill. I knew I would get it back eventually but didn't know when. So it was a nice surprise to get my check yesterday and have it contain an extra $1,400.
It really is "found" money to me. Whether I had this job or not, I still would have gone to the conference but I would have had to pay for it out of pocket.
What will we do with the money? I wish I had an interesting or exciting answer but it will just go toward college costs for the coming year. I'm trying to minimize the amount of the Parent PLUS loan that we need to take out and this will help.
I've been referring to my urgent care position as my 2nd job. It's relatively new as I've only been there a year and I've been in my practice for 17 years so I consider that my primary job.
However, since going part time at urgent care and reducing my hours at the office in February, the numbers have shifted. I anticipate that for 2017, about 58% of my income will come from the "2nd job" and only 42% from the "primary job".
So would you still call it your 2nd job if it provides the majority of your income? In terms of hours worked, the jobs are pretty even so I can't use that criteria.
Or would you just drop the terms all together simply and say you have 2 part time jobs?
One of the things that I became eligible for when I became part time at the urgent care job at the end of February is a quarterly incentive program. I actually didn't even learn about that until after I had already started and got an email that talked about it.
I had absolutely no idea how much this incentive would be and it isn't really something I was going to ask about. I figured whatever I get is a bonus and money I didn't already have. I also didn't know if I'd be in the incentive pool for the first quarter since I didn't become part time until February 26, 2/3 of the way through the quarter.
Anyway, as the title of this post says, I was eligible for the first quarter. What I still don't know is if the amount I received was prorated for the amount of time I was part time. I will ask that question the next time I speak to the director.
Paychecks came out today and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that in addition to my regular paycheck, there was a second check for this bonus in the amount of $2,069! I figured the bonus might be a couple hundred dollars at best so getting ten times that much was sweet. If that's what I can expect every 3 months, that's a huge perk that I didn't know about. This job gets better every day.
I've started to write a post a few times and just never actually published it.
So as of February 26, I am working 2 part time jobs. I am 21.5 hours/week at my private practice and 20 hours/week at the urgent care center. That change came with a substantial pay raise. It's impossible to know exactly how much more I'll earn this year partly because of how I'm paid at the practice and partly because I can still pick up per diem shifts at urgent care (and I already have several times and have more scheduled).
The best estimate right now based on YTD numbers is that I'll earn at least $34,000 more in 2017 than I did in 2016 which is HUGE. All of that additional income is attributable to the urgent care job so 10% goes to the 401k. After taxes and health insurance deductions, that should leave me about $23,000 extra in take home pay. Add to that the fact that our new health insurance is saving us about $5,400 this year and by 12/31/16, we should end up over $28,000 ahead of last year, or more than $2,300/month.
At first, I wasn't really seeing the impact of that extra income but it coincided with some big expenses, especially planning and paying for summer vacation plans (Visa bill was nearly $5,000 last month).
However, in mid-April I was able to make a transfer of $2,000 from checking to savings. And today, just over 3 weeks later, I was able to transfer another $2,000 to savings. If I can actually manage to do that every month, that would be fantastic.
Where will that extra money go? At least for the next year or so, it will go to cover college costs for our daughter. She's going into her senior year so the end is near. We'll have some loans to pay off but we already pay $1,000/month on the loan and if we can keep saving an additional $2,000/month, we should be able to clean it all up pretty quickly.
I can't wait until college is behind us and that $3,000/month (actually $3,300 counting the 529 contribution that will go away soon) can start going to beef up our savings for retirement and a possible relocation.
My income this year will be the most we've ever earned and I'm still adjusting to the higher figure especially since it jumped up so quickly. Certainly not a bad problem to have.
I realized I haven't posted for a while and a lot of you don't frequent the forums.
As of this Sunday, I will be starting part time with the urgent care job and cutting back to part time in my family practice. I'll be doing 20 hrs/week at urgent care. For the first month, my family practice hours will drop to 22.5. After that, I plan to drop it to 21.5.
Doing this will boost my income for 2017 by about 20% over what I made in 2016 and in subsequent years a bit more than that since I'm making the change two months into the year.
I will still be able to pick up per diem shifts if I want to (and based on availability). I only have one extra shift scheduled for March at this point but stuff opens up pretty regularly due to people calling out sick or other things cropping up.
Right now, the plan for the extra income is twofold. First, more money will be going into the 401k. I'm keeping my contribution rate at 10% for now but 10% of a higher income is more money.
Second, we took a PLUS loan for our daughter's college costs back in August and will take another this coming August. We are already aggressively repaying it ($1,000/month) but will also use some of the additional income to pay those loans off even faster. She will graduate in May 2018 so the end of college costs is rapidly approaching. Last tuition payment will be due in January 2018.
I've been working at the urgent care since May and have been very happy with the work. I've been trying to do 1 or 2 nights a week and that has been just enough without being too much. This month, I will have worked 8 shifts which is great (and great money).
The problem is that when the December schedule came out a few weeks ago, there were hardly any open shifts to choose from. I was hoping it was just a fluke but the January schedule came out today and it was the same or worse. I may actually end up with no shifts in January based on what's available and when I'm free to work.
I sent the director an email with my concerns about this. I also told him that if a part-time position becomes available, to keep me in mind as I might be interested. I'm not sure how that would work with my regular job but I figured that conversation was going to happen eventually. If it comes down to picking my full time practice or the urgent care, I'm picking urgent care. I was just hoping that wasn't going to happen.
It's been quite a few years since I paid off my student loans. We now find ourselves back in that situation thanks to our daughter's education.
I'm not complaining, though. We were quite fortunate to be able to cover all of the first 2 years of college from her 529 plan and even a chunk of year 3. When it came to paying the balance of about 19K, we had a few options. We could take a Parent PLUS loan. We could take a home equity loan/line. We could pull money from general non-retirement savings. Each had pros and cons. In the end, we opted for the PLUS loan for 15K. We covered the remainder from savings.
Thanks to my new part time job, I'm earning enough that my plan is to pay a minimum of $1,000/month toward that loan starting this month. That won't totally repay it in a year but it'll be most of it. We will need to borrow again for year 4 but hopefully not quite as much. It will all depend on my total income from the new job. In any case, even if we end up borrowing a total of 30K over the 2 years and pay that off in about 30 months, I think that would be pretty reasonable and I'm sure far better than what many families face so I'm thankful for that. If we owe $6,000 when she graduates, I certainly won't complain about that.
DD also took out a $7,500 Stafford loan. She is going to pay $450/month on that while it is in deferment. So that's $5,400/year. Assuming she borrows another $7,500 for senior year, by the time she graduates, she'll only have about $4,200 left to repay. Again, far better than what most college grads face today.
The moral of the story is to start saving for your kids' education as early as you can, even if it doesn't seem like a lot, every little bit helps. We were able to accumulate about 60K in her 529 but any amount is helpful.
It's been a couple of months since I posted so I thought I'd post an update.
I've been working per diem at Urgent Care since the end of May. To date, I've done 12 evening shifts and 1 Saturday. It's been going well. Due to some schedule conflicts, I've only got 3 evenings and a Saturday booked for September but then I've got 5 evenings and a Saturday in October.
As for my regular full time job, my partner and I have had several conversations about my status there. We're trying to work some things out to ease my workload a bit. Also, starting October 1, I'm shortening my Tuesday schedule by 90 minutes. That frees me up to work Urgent Care Tuesday evenings which I couldn't do before time-wise.
My wife doesn't like me working a bunch of extra hours but honestly, so far it really isn't bothering me at all. The Urgent Care work is generally much less stressful than the regular job. Most of the time, it's actually kind of fun compared to the hectic pace at my office.
The best part, of course, has been the extra income. We did pay off my wife's van last month so that loan is gone. We took out a $15,000 student loan for our daughter but I'm hoping to use at least $1,000/month from the new job to make payments on that so we don't keep it around for too long. In October alone, I should take home about $2,500 extra. The other good thing about the per diem gig is that if I ever really want to work more, there are usually shifts available.
The new location that was supposed to open in July got delayed but is now definitely opening on September 12. It is about 3 miles from my house and I already have a few shifts scheduled there. That will be extra nice because the place I've been doing most of my hours is about 18 miles away. This is a 5-minute drive.
So that's where things stand. Still working one job full time but trimming my hours a tiny bit in October. Gradually increasing my hours at the per diem job. And overall enjoying the cushion that the extra income is providing. I don't know what the next step will be but at some point I'll probably want to further trim my office hours. The first target would probably be to shorten Mondays also the way I'm shortening Tuesdays. I work until 5 but I go in at 7:30 so it's a long day. Even cutting it back to 4 would be nice. We shall see.
I posted this to the forum also but since I've shared more about the new job here, I figured I should mention it.
My first check was direct deposited Thursday night but I just realized it about an hour ago. I got paid for my 8 hours of orientation and the two 4-hour shifts I've worked so far, so 16 hours total.
They neglected to pay me for the 14 hours of computer training I did. I was kind of expecting that to happen and I really should have reminded the practice manager about that in advance. I just emailed her so I assume they'll add it to my next check in 2 weeks.
So now the new job is really official!
I'm sure you're wondering what the plan is for the additional income. Right now, my plan is to pay off DW's van. We owe about $1,700. This check was for just under $1,400 so that covers most of it and I'll pay the rest from the next check. That will drop our monthly expenses by $400, which is ironically convenient because our expenses are going up by about $450. Our auto insurance went up when DD got her car a few weeks ago. Our health insurance is going up. And a recurring medical bill is going up. Oh well. Easy come, easy go.
I realized I never posted anything after my first day at the new job.
To give a quick review, I'm a family practice doctor. I've been in private practice for 23 years, 16 at my current job. For various reasons, I decided it was time to start exploring other options and Urgent Care centers are popping up like weeds and in desperate need of doctors to staff them all. I interviewed with a couple and signed on to work per diem with one chain of centers connected to a big local hospital group. They currently have 5 centers, a 6th one not far from my house will open next month, and 1 or 2 more should open by the end of the year. So they are expanding rapidly and that just means more and more shifts to fill.
I did my first shift a week ago Thursday evening 5-9pm. It actually went pretty well I think. It got a bit hectic in the last hour or so and I was still muddling my way through the computer system but I managed (with the help of my one-on-one IT support person who was with me the whole time).
My next shift wasn't scheduled until 6/16 but I decided I needed to work before that to keep up on the learning curve so I picked up an open shift last night, also 5-9pm. That went much more smoothly than last week. I felt a lot more comfortable and confident in what I was doing. My IT guy was with me again and I made sure to work with him to clarify some specific workflow routines on the computer and I took good notes of the processes so that on future shifts when he isn't there anymore, I'll be able to know what I'm doing.
Right now, the 6/16 shift is the next one I've got booked. I was going to possibly pick up more but we got some bad news this morning as a very close relative was just diagnosed with colon cancer. He's in the hospital now getting worked up and will likely have surgery in the next few days. My wife and mother plan to fly down to Florida to be with him. My daughter and I will stay home. I don't want to commit to any more shifts until I have a better idea of what's going on with him. If not for that, I'm all set to jump into the new position on a regular basis.
The question now becomes what to do with my existing job. I'm still working full time there. My partner and I have already talked about me possibly reducing my office hours so that I can split my time more with the Urgent Care. Part of me really hates to leave the practice as I like what I do for the most part, but personally, professionally, and financially for sure, the new job has a lot of advantages. I don't think I'm going to make any decision for at least a couple of months but I've got a lot to think about. So for now, it's just a side gig and some nice extra money.
I will be officially starting and the new Urgent Care center job tonight. I'm working 5-9pm. I'm both excited and nervous which I suppose is pretty normal.
I had my orientation on Monday. That was pretty interesting but wasn't specific to my position. It was just general stuff about the hospital system, being a good employee, human resources info, etc.
I did shadow the medical director for 2 evenings last week to start to learn the workflow. That helped me at least feel like I have some clue what to expect when I walk in the door tonight.
I'm hoping it all goes well and I feel comfortable working in that environment because the opportunity is a great one. I'll report back tomorrow if I remember.
For those following along on my new job, my first shift at the urgent care center is scheduled for May 26 in the evening (5-9pm). I'm going in 2 days this week to shadow the director while he's working so I can start learning the flow of the place.
My orientation for the hospital system is May 23. I'm sure that the vast majority of what they cover won't apply to me since I won't be working in the hospital but I'm required to attend and they pay me for it.
I've got 2 more training days for the occupational medicine department at the end of June.
On to the bragging part. My daughter is not the type who is comfortable with us talking about her accomplishments so I can't share things like this on facebook but I wanted to tell someone . She finished her 2nd year of college with her best performance so far. For the spring semester, she had all A's or A minuses giving her a 3.88 GPA. That raised her cumulative GPA to a 3.398 I think. Last semester we were kind of nervous because she needs a 3.2 to keep her scholarship and a 3.3 to stay in the honors program and she was in danger of missing those marks but she pulled it together this semester and firmed up her position. That puts her on Dean's List for the semester, too, which is always a nice thing to have on your resume.
It's been a couple of months since I posted but things are still rolling along with me starting to work for the urgent care center. It's a long process but I'm nearing the end and will be able to start working in mid May.
First, I had mentioned the $525 fee I had to pay to apply for the medical staff. It turns out that I didn't have to pay that and they refunded my money. That was a nice surprise.
I did my Basic Life Support course last week. I have my employee physical scheduled for May 5.
I have my computer training on April 27 and 28. That's kind of a pain since I need to take off from work to do it. The upside is that I do get paid for it. So instead of working 12.5 hours in my current job at $70/hr I'll be doing 14 hours of training at $120/hr, a difference of $805. Not too shabby.
I also have to do a 1-day orientation on May 23. So again, I need to cancel my regular office hours, but I'll earn an extra $365 that day.
The doctor in charge is out of town at the moment but as soon as he gets back, I'm going to arrange a time to go in and shadow/observe to start to get a feel for the work flow and just generally how the place operates. Then I'll start scheduling shifts to work. I expected to actually start working by sometime in the 2nd half of May.
I thought I'd post a little update to my last entry.
I mailed on the application packet for the one job. Their process is on the complicated side because not only do I need to be hired by the urgent care center, I also need to join the medical staff of the hospital. That's kind of a pain and also cost me $525.
Now I need to copy and send pretty much all of the same information to their credentialing office because apparently one office can't manage to talk to the other even though they are all part of the same company. I'll take care of that over the weekend.
Yesterday, I interviewed at the other urgent care center than I'm considering. There are pros and cons to each of them. One pays better. One has more flexible scheduling. One requires a higher level of certification. One has an easier to use electronic records system. Etc.
I think my plan at this point is to sign up with both of them and try to work at least one shift a month at each and see which I like better after a few months (hopefully it will be the better paying one but I'm going to try and not let that be my only deciding factor).
I do need to get my advanced cardiac life support certification. I'll do that in the next month or so. The one hospital will reimburse me for that once I come onboard so that's nice. The downside is that I need to miss 2 days of work to take the course so I'll lose the income from taking those days unpaid so either way, it's going to cost me a chunk of money.
Hopefully it's all an investment in my future, though. At least that's how I need to look at it.
I haven't posted a blog for quite a while. I'm on the forums all the time but not here. I wanted to share some news and I thought this was the better place for it.
Before I do, let me just mention that for 2015, I earned $12,163 from surveys. That's by far the most I've ever made. See what happens when I really stay committed to doing it?
Anyway, on to the news.
I've been at my current job for almost 16 years. Overall, I've been happy there. Certainly, there have been issues but nothing that was enough to make me consider leaving.
One thing has been a growing problem, though. The doctor I work for is a lousy businessman. Unfortunately, medicine is very much a business today and you need to be very financially savvy to succeed, no matter how good of a doctor you may be - and he just isn't.
The most troublesome effect of that is that I haven't had a raise for years. I'm embarrassed to admit how many years. I feel kind of awkward complaining since I still make far above median income and I don't want to come off sounding ungrateful to folks who would kill to make what I make, but the simple reality is that what was fantastic money 10 years ago and still pretty decent money 5 years ago is barely covering things today. Pretty much everything is more costly than it used to be - food, clothing, taxes, cars, etc. I'm sure very few of you would like to have your incomes cut back to what you made 10 years ago.
So I finally started looking into other opportunities. I do family practice currently (always have) but I started exploring the growing field of urgent care. There are 2 big hospital-based urgent care systems in my area. One of them is paying 28% more than I currently make. The other is paying 71% more. I'd be stupid to not at least look into making a change for a 71% increase in my income (or even a 28% increase).
I've taken the first steps in the process. I've already met with, and gotten an offer from, the higher paying place. I'm going to sign on on a per diem basis for now and hope to pick up a couple of weekend shifts each month to see if I like it, remaining at my regular job as well. I'm also going to meet with the other place and may sign on as a per diem with them too. Being signed up with both will give me more opportunities to find open shifts when I'm looking to work.
If, and this is the big question, I find that I enjoy the urgent care work, the ultimate goal would be to transition into doing that as my full-time gig. I only need to work 21 hours/week at the higher rate to match my current weekly income, which wouldn't be hard at all, especially as they are opening a new center next month and have a few more planned over the next couple of years. The demand for doctors is only increasing. Now is a great time to be getting involved.
Sorry for rambling but I haven't really been able to share this with too many people just yet. It will probably be a few months before all of the paperwork and credentialing is done and I can actually start working but I feel good knowing I've gotten the process started.
For the month of April, I did very well and earned $1,158 from medical surveys.
The past few weeks, though, I have not been keeping up with the surveys well at all. I've been busy with other things and just generally slacking a bit to be honest. I'm trying to get back on track.
Today, for example, I've already done 5 surveys for a total of $220 generated. I still have a couple of other invites in my in-box that I may get to tonight, but at least I've done a bunch already.
I realized that I haven't posted here since the end of the year. Where has the time gone?
So to update....
2015 is off to a solid start with my medical surveys.
April promises to be a good month as I'm already at $610 as of today and it's only the 8th. So I should definitely break $1,000 again.
In other news, we've had an expensive few months. We replaced our refrigerator in January. A few days later, our heater died. That (the heater) cost us $4,000 plus a couple of nights in a hotel. The fridge was about $1,200 I think. Replacing the heater also led to replacing the AC, which we just did the other day, for another $3,000.
In the good news department, I was dreading filing our 2014 taxes because a couple of our taxable mutual funds paid out large capital gains distributions (like $20,000 worth). So I was expecting a 4-5K tax bill. As it turned out, thanks to some other stuff, like the college tax credit, we actually ended up breaking even, getting a small ($95) refund. That was a big relief.
I've been making more use of some online savings, specifically promo codes at sites like retailmenot.com and discounted gift cards at sites like cardpool.com and giftcards.com. We saved almost $100 on the fridge, $30 on a trip to the local aquarium, and $66 on a new suitcase for DD recently.
So that kind of sums up the recent stuff.
For the month of December, I earned $1,072 from my medical surveys, so a good month to end the year.
That brought my grand total for 2014 to $10,879.50. I met and exceeded my goal of 10K. I'm very satisfied with that.
I'll keep the same goal again as there isn't a whole lot I can do to boost this number. I just need to keep doing as many of the survey opportunities as I can.
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